A Comparative Study to Determine the Effect of Age and Parity on Vaginal Epithelial Cells Diameters

Abstract

The vagina is lined by stratified sequamous epithelium which is under the effect of hormonal & environmental factors. The vaginal epithelium is poorly studied & very little & restricted studies made about this subject. This cross-sectional study is aimed at studying the effect of age & parity on vaginal epithelial cells diameter. It was conducted in Al-Bakarly primary health center in Hilla. 82 women who attend the center for various reasons were recruited. After taking history & physical examination, vaginal swabs were taken to obtain vaginal epithelial cells, the slides examined under light microscope to measure vaginal epithelial cell diameter in five epithelial cells & the mean was taken for each swab. A significant difference in mean cell diameter was found in different age groups.The least diameter (5.35 µm) in those aged ≤20 years while the largest diameter (6.50 µm) in those aged 31-40 years. A significant difference in mean epithelial cell diameter was also found in women of different parity. There was a significant increment in mean cell diameter with increasing parity. The conclusion of this study is that there is a significant effect of both age & parity on vaginal epithelial cell diameter & these factors must be considered when interpretting vaginal swabs & smears.